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Articles Posted in Nursing Negligence

Nursing home abuse and neglect in Riverside County can take many different forms, and it can be difficult for family members visiting elderly loved ones to recognize signs and symptoms of some types of abuse. In particular, passive neglect injuries—in which the nursing home negligence led to the harm—may be attributed to circumstances that do not immediately stand out as neglect. As such, it is important to know when a facility may be responsible for a senior’s injuries.

For example, if an elderly resident in a nursing home suffers a bone fracture and must receive medical attention at a hospital, the nursing home might inform the family that the elderly resident slipped and fell on her way to the bathroom. Yet the fall may have been prevented if adequate staff were employed by the facility to assist that resident to the bathroom. Or, for example, a family member might learn that bed sores resulted from the resident being temporarily confined to bed because of an unrelated illness. Yet those bed sores may have been prevented if a staff member had been providing regular care to the resident confined to his or her bed. In such circumstances, the nursing home may be liable for negligence. The following are some of the most common injuries that result from passive neglect at nursing homes.

Bed Sores

Choosing the best nursing home for an elderly loved one can be a difficult task. Although some information about nursing home ratings and previous safety violations can be located, recent reports suggest that information is often incomplete, or even worse, that it may be incorrect and misleading. Moreover, you cannot always know for certain whether a facility will pose injury risks to its residents based on its history. While a history of safety violations should certainly be a cause for concern, even skilled nursing facilities with clear records can be places where elderly residents sustain serious and life-threatening injuries. 

How can you know what to look for in a nursing home? More often than not, it is important to know what you should not see at a nursing home or assisted-living facility. According to U.S. News & World Report, it is more important than ever to be able to recognize red flags at nursing homes. The following are red flags that should raise concern.

High Rate of Infections and Deaths From COVID-19

Nursing home abuse and neglect injuries in San Bernardino nursing homes can take many different forms, and they can have varying causes. It is important for families with elderly loved ones in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to be on the lookout for common injury signs, and to know when those injuries may have resulted from abuse or neglect. In many cases, nursing homes may not intend to cause any harm, but as a result of passive neglect, seniors can suffer debilitating and life-threatening harm. In those cases, the nursing home may be liable for damages. The following are among the common types of injuries at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Southern California.

Broken Bones or Fractures

A senior at a nursing home can sustain broken bone or fracture injuries in many different ways, and a bone fracture may be a sign of abuse or neglect. In some instances, broken bones can result from a slip and fall, or a fall out of bed. Yet fractures can also be signs of intentional physical abuse. Even if a senior slips and breaks a bone, the facility may be responsible. 

Does the type of corporation, entity, or individual that owns a nursing home in San Bernardino County affect the likelihood that the facility will be a place where nursing home abuse or neglect occurs? A recent article in Market Watch highlights the particular dangers of facilities that have been bought by private-equity firms and that may not be putting patients first. Indeed, according to that article, residents at many of these facilities face “a threat of imminent danger of death or bodily harm” as a result of poor care at various facilities and California’s failure to take action, according to a judge in the state. That judge described the state government’s failure to protect seniors in nursing homes as a “consistent, endemic, and statewide” problem centered on a lack of investigations into complaints and accusations that have been made against these facilities. 

That recent court decision in California highlights the need for state agencies to take more significant action to protect nursing home residents from injuries caused by abuse and neglect.

California Court Says Department of Public Health Has Failed Nursing Home Residents

When you are helping an elderly parent or loved one to find a nursing home in Orange County or elsewhere in Southern California, the process of searching for a safe facility can be daunting. While nursing home rating systems exist, recent reports suggest that those ratings may not provide a full or accurate picture of safety violations at those facilities or actual staff-patient ratios. Information about safety violations can be more difficult to locate since that information is not easily obtained through a central repository, depending upon the location of the facility and other factors. How, then, can you identify a safe nursing home in Orange County? 

It is critical to keep in mind that any nursing home can be a site of nursing home abuse or neglect. Even facilities that have no histories of negligence can be the subject of a future investigation. Thus it is nearly impossible to know with absolute certainty that a facility is safe. However, there are certain factors you can look for in a facility to have more confidence in its treatment of and care for residents. Our Orange County nursing home abuse attorneys want to provide you with tips for choosing a facility.

Transparency in Policies

One way in which nursing home residents in San Bernardino can suffer serious injuries during the summer months is dehydration, heat exhaustion, and other hyperthermia conditions. While many people assume that such injuries or conditions may be common during the particularly warm summer months in Southern California, especially when there is a heat wave, yet no residents at skilled nursing facilities in California should suffer from any of these heat-related conditions simply because the outdoor temperatures are setting records. To be sure, nursing homes in California must ensure that residents are safe and are not subject to extreme temperatures that can cause serious harm.   

If a nursing home fails to provide cooler temperatures for residents during the summer months, can that nursing home be held accountable for injuries? Nursing homes certainly may be liable in certain situations where residents sustain hyperthermia-related injuries as a result of nursing home neglect.

Nursing Home Neglect and Hyperthermia

If you are seeking a nursing home in Los Angeles County and you are particularly concerned about risks of elder abuse or neglect at the facility, how can you determine whether you are selecting a nursing home that will provide a high quality of care for your elderly loved one? Families in Southern California and across the country go through this complicated process, and many of them turn to the star rating system provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). However, a recent investigation by The New York Times demonstrates that the CMS star system is significantly flawed, and it may not provide any kind of accurate picture of nursing home safety in California or elsewhere in the country.

What do you need to know about the CMS star system and the risks of using it to find a safe facility where your elderly parent or loved one will not suffer harm as a result of nursing home abuse?

Investigation by The New York Times Reveals Serious Flaws in CMS Nursing Home Star System

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing major disruptions and serious illness concerns in San Diego County and throughout California. Nursing home residents, many of whom are elderly, are not only in a vulnerable age group when it comes to serious COVID-19 infections, but many nursing home residents also have underlying conditions that put them at greater risk for severe infection and even death. To prevent COVID-19 infections in nursing homes, in addition to providing a high quality of care to avoid nursing home neglect injuries, facilities should in theory be improving on the nurse-to-patient ratios required by the state. 

Yet according to a recent article in NPR, the state relaxed its nurse-to-patient ratios in mid-December 2020, which ultimately means that fewer nursing home patients are getting the level of care they need.

Staffing Problems Often Result in Nursing Home Neglect Injuries 

Lomita Post-Acute Care Center of Los Angeles County, California was issued a Class AA Citation by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on August 14, 2020 after a resident was killed due to sepsis resulting from negligent patient care at the facility.

The Care Center failed to follow its own policies and procedures to ensure that the resident, who had been admitted just 7 days prior, received the care she needed, which started with an accurate assessment of the resident’s change of condition, in combination with urinary catheter care, reporting to the physician the resident’s change of condition in a timely manner, and sending the resident to the hospital only after a family member insisted.

Interviews and Nurses Notes indicated that on several instances there was no documented confirmation that the Resident’s catheter was being examined per physician’s orders. Which likely contributed to the UTI that later caused Sepsis in the Resident.

Nursing home residents in Orange County have a wide variety of rights under California law, which are designed to protect nursing home residents from elder abuse and neglect. Much too often, seniors in skilled nursing facilities in Southern California are still subject to poor care and intentional abuse, and many suffer serious or life-threatening injuries as a result. However, it is still important for older adults and their families to know what their rights are under California law. 

Even if the existence of nursing home residents’ rights are insufficient to prevent nursing home abuse or neglect from happening in the first place, recognizing rights and understanding when they have been violated may allow a senior or her family to take action by filing a claim against the facility or a particular healthcare provider. The following are examples of the resident rights in Orange County nursing homes.

General Residents’ Rights in California Nursing Homes

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